Lemonade stands are great. They’re simple to set up, cute as a button, and tinged with a business vibe that kids respect and parents admire. But hidden behind the sugar-sweet display is a deeper reality: today’s lemonade seller is tomorrow’s business leader. Building a plan centered on data is the blueprint of the future, whether it’s the Lemonade Crew or an enterprise organization. 

We live in a digital age, where kids in kindergarten are learning the basics of data analysis as part of their math curriculum. A new generation of entrepreneurs is utilizing data sooner and in more significant ways, because data is central in the ongoing digital transformation of business operations across essential industries. It is driving innovation in telecommunications, healthcare, manufacturing, financial services, retail, and insurance. 

Whether it’s a start-up or a global enterprise organization or, yes, even a lemonade stand, success is increasingly determined by how efficiently data is collected, stored, and managed. 

So how are companies moving forward in an era of unprecedented information and reliance on data? By embracing hybrid cloud platform capabilities.

Remote and Cloud-Bound

The impact of 2020 continues to reverberate. COVID-19 accelerated changes to an already evolving enterprise terrain, and the reliance on remote workforces pushed hybrid cloud architecture to the top of the priority list for business leaders looking to stay competitive. 

According to Deloitte, 3% of full-time enterprise employees worked remotely in January of 2020, compared to 64% by April of the same year. And many will never be going back into a physical office. A survey of CIOs conducted by Enterprise Technology Research showed an expected permanent doubling of full-time remote employees, with only 28.7% of respondents claiming there has been a drop-off in productivity. 

Automation and the advancement of AI and ML technologies are adding value to processes long stifled by inefficiency and redundancy. Gartner forecasts that by 2025, 50% of enterprises will have devised AI-orchestrated platforms to operationalize AI, up from fewer than 10% in 2020. 

As AI, ML, and automation implementation grows, the workforce will morph; McKinsey Global Institute predicts that over the next decade, technical, social and emotional, and higher cognitive abilities will begin replacing manual and physical labor as the skills most essential and in-demand. 

As organizations scramble to accommodate a remote workforce while securely handling data and incorporating the latest AI and automation technology, adoption of purpose-built cloud solutions has grown. Gartner forecasts end-user spending on public services to grow by 23.1% in 2021, a total growth in expenditure of over $50 billion from 2020.    

This astounding growth is evidence of growing mainstream acceptance for enterprise data cloud services and the emerging technologies that support the full data lifecycle, from the edge to AI. 

Cloud computing services have allowed organizations to utilize on-demand, scalable models that quickly migrate workloads that are cost-effective and maintain business continuity. This also means that employees spend less time on mundane and routine tasks, like data wrangling or book-keeping. Instead, they are able to concentrate on more valuable and creative work. 

Top Trends for Future of Work

Like with a lemonade stand, success begets innovation and future planning so expect to see the continued evolution and implementation of an assortment of cloud technologies, from automated cloud orchestration and SASE adoption to going serverless and hybrid cloud offerings. Cloud services and technology will continue to expand the possibilities of what enterprises can do with data. 

Look for more adoption of edge computing as companies seek to bridge the gap between centralized cloud and end-users, to improve content performance no matter the location. 

A focus on artificial intelligence engineering will grow as AI projects will increasingly require a cohesive strategy that ensures the performance and interoperability needed to deliver on investment. 

The expansion in data processing capability and the evolution of cloud technologies is creating a workforce with a skillset that goes beyond just being digitally native. Steeped in data from a young age and comfortable with analytic processes early on, the workforce of the future will respond to increasingly nuanced AI and automation needs with insight gained from a lifetime of experience.   

As the Lemonade Crew shows, collecting, analyzing, and utilizing data is key to a successful business. The future of data is in large part the future of work, and the future of work is moving to the cloud. 
If you want to learn more about successful data strategies — like the one that worked for the Lemonade Crew — and ways to implement one for your enterprise, visit Cloudera.com